Each year, the Analyst Observatory promotes two awards series for the analyst industry: the Analyst Firm Awards and the Analyst Attitude Survey Awards. Both awards are based on surveys conducted by the Analyst Observatory at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

Analyst Firm Awards

The Analyst Value Survey, which we have run each year since 2000, is the sustainable engine for the award. It reaches out beyond the analyst relations community and allows us to recognize the value delivered to the users of analyst firm services. The awards recognize the leading analyst firms, chosen by the value delivered to users, in categories of research coverage groups that evolve slowly from year to year. The methodology for the Analyst Firm Awards, explained in a series of blog posts (1, 2, 3), uses the survey data to identify firms that are most used, most valuable, and most relied upon.

The AFA categories

The Analyst Firm Awards are published in ten categories.  The firms highest-ranked in each category are considered to be award winners. There is a lot of stability from year to year, as can be shown by prior editions of each award:

  1. Telecoms & Networking: covering  Wireless; Telecoms Services; Telecoms Equipment; Telecoms Network Architecture; Mobile; Virtualization; Cloud Communications; Networks; and Unified Communications (2018 award here).
  2. Fintech including Asset Management, Capital Markets, Digital Banking, Financial Services, Investment, Payments, and Risk Management (Previously part of the services award here).
  3. Cybersecurity including Governance,  Information Security, Privacy, Security (Award from 2017 here )
  4. Deep Tech covering a wide range of emerging technologies (added in 2020)
  5. AI & Analytics including Business Intelligence and Data Analytics (Award from 2017 here)
  6. Enterprise tech including Automotive, Cloud Computing, Data Center, Emerging Technologies, Healthcare, IT Services, Manufacturing, Outsourcing, Retail Technology, Server, and Sourcing (2018 award here)
  7. Internet of Things (IOT) including M2M (Machine to Machine) and Smart Home. (Here is the 2021 award)
  8. Marketing & Advertising: including Analyst Relations, Business Development, Digital Marketing, and  Marketing (2018 award here).
  9. MediaTech including Digital Media, Gaming, OTT, TV and Video
  10. Global: the “rest of the world” (outside North America) (2018 award here).

The AFA Method

At the core of the AVS methodology is asking participants what analyst capabilities they value, to see how high the value is that they put on that capability and then to see how well each of the analyst firms delivers each of those capabilities. The Analyst Firm Awards leverage that unequally-strong data from the AVS. 

The Analyst Firm Awards are given on the basis of an index score. The index approach was initially developed in 2013. It’s an aggregated and weighted super-score including the depth and breadth of influence, value for money, independence, buzz (word of mouth), and trend (on-the-up or down). To advance in the Analyst Firm Awards, firms need to reach more people or provide more, and better, services across the full range of services. It’s unsurprising, of course, that Gartner and Forrester lead comprehensively in most segments.

Each Analyst Firm Award category reflects the index scores in specific segments. Each analyst firm’s impact varies greatly from segment to segment. Vendors need a different portfolio of analyst services from end-users, and end-users of analytics value those services differently from their colleagues in marketing. That also leads us to look at specific analyst services, and we’ve discovered exactly how the value of those services differs from segment to segment. 

Since 2020, we have included two accounting companies with advisory and research services (Deloitte and KPMG). Since 2019 we have excluded an analyst firm that asked to not be considered (it would not have made the top ten in any of our categories).

Free business applications for use by approved AFA winners are available on request. The Awards Customization Service allows customized artwork to be produced by an approved designer working within our criteria. Contact us for details: The modest fee goes to the designer, not to us.

AFA winners and sponsors

2021 – sponsored by CCgroup: Schedule and initial Nominees.

2020 – sponsored by CCgroup: Report and retrospective Global Ranking.

2019 – sponsored by CCgroup: Summary.

2018: Awards.

2017: Awards.

2016: Awards.

2015: Note.

2014: Awards.

2013: Analyst Value Index.